Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Twist on Health Care Reform Litigation

Some lawsuits I just don't understand. I guess that's because I don't have the proper training. Surely three years of law school would have showed me why this one should move forward ... well perhaps surely is too strong a word.

Somewhere in the heart of Pennsylvania reside and work a presumably lovely self-employed couple -- Barbara Goudy-Bachman and Gregory Bachman. They have sued the US government in federal court to challenge the individual mandate under health care reform (PPACA). They believe that the government has exceeded its powers.

As it has in (I believe all of) these individual cases, the United States has argued that the Bachmans do not have standing to sue because personally, they could show no immediate individual harm. Well, hold on a second, United States. The Bachmans are alleging immediate economic challenges as a result of PPACA. You see, the Bachmans are planners and they have calculated that they cannot afford car payments and health care premiums come 2014 (currently, they have no health insurance).

Judge Christopher C. Conner, writing in the Central District of Pennsylvania wrote:
The economic impact is immediate: the Bachmans must forego the purchase of a new vehicle and rearrange their finances in anticipation of the statutory requirement that they purchase insurance. Although it is certainly true that the Bachman’s circumstances may change, they must undertake financial planning and budgeting decisions now in preparation for the implementation of the individual mandate. The mandate will likely require a significant financial investment by the Bachmans. Changes in their family budget are required now and are reasonably traceable to the mandate. The Bachmans have no crystal ball. They must engage in financial preparation and reduced spending based upon their present circumstances in light of the impending effective date of the individual mandate.
This is incredible logic. I fear that my personal taxes may be higher in 2014. And, my car is vintage 1999, so I should need a new one by 2014. I think I have a case, perhaps even better than the Bachmans. But, I don't think I am going to sue the US government over this one.

In any event, I googled Judge Conner. He is a Bush appointee, educated at Cornell University and the Dickinson School of Law. He was an Adjunct Professor at the Widener University School of Law about 10 years ago. You can go to this website and see that there are a bunch of people not real happy with him:

And, if you want to read about the case in gory detail, you can go here:

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